Mission sales tax report for March looks strong despite COVID-19, staff cautions April receipts ‘will probably be the most telling’

Mission City Hall.

While financial impact from COVID-19 remains unknown, initial signs from the city of Mission’s sales tax receipts seem positive, city officials say.

Like most cities, Mission’s sales tax receipts run on a two-month lag time. The March 2020 receipts — which reflect about two weeks worth of COVID-19 shutdowns — show an approximate 2% general sales tax increase and an 8% use tax increase compared to its five-year running average on general sales taxes, City Administrator Laura Smith said.

“Our specific sales and use tax numbers looked good for March,” Smith said. “The receipts at the end of June, which will be reflective of April and really a full month of shutdowns and closures, will probably be the most telling. But at this point, I think we were very encouraged by the numbers we saw [Wednesday].”

City staff still prepared three alternative scenarios for the city’s sales and use tax revenue stream for Wednesday’s budget work session. These scenarios considered 5% , 15% or 25% sales and use tax reductions, which translates to loss ranging from $260,000 to $1.3 million.

The city anticipates its Parks and Recreation revenues — which needed an adjustment prior to the pandemic — to be hit hard, according to city documents. This comes as a result of the Sylvester Powell Jr. Community Center being closed for three months and decisions to cancel the summer camp program and the 2020 pool season.

City staff also provided three alternative scenarios for potential Parks and Recreation losses: a 25% reduction, a 50% reduction and a 75% reduction. A 50% reduction would result in a loss of $850,000 worth of Parks and Recreation revenue, according to city documents.

Additionally, the city expects a 30% reduction in fine and forfeiture revenues, which needed an adjustment prior to COVID-19 impacts, as well. City staff said they will not rely entirely on the general fund to supplement for revenue shortfalls, though a discussion about this might be required, according to city documents.

A full budget work session packet can be found here. The next City Council budget work session is scheduled for June 24 at 6:30 p.m.